It hit me as I was looking through a Michael’s Arts and Crafts sales flier a few weeks ago: There was not one thing I needed. What’s worse, there was nothing I wanted. (Quick, someone, feel my forehead! I may be hallucinating!)
Years of collecting every new quilting and crafting product; a halfyard or more from every conceivable line; needles and notions out the wazoo; and books, magazines and patterns that I’ve seen only once, then filed away where I’ll probably never see them again, proves one thing. Cupcake, I am the epitome of the all-American quilter.
I’ve always dreamily rationalized that the more expensive my stuff and the more of it I had, the better my patchwork would be and the more quilts I’d complete.
Lies, lies and more lies!
Expensive or innovative quilting tools and equipment will not make you a better quilter. Ask me how I know — I have one of everything. Tasks might be easier or different, but there’s no guarantee of increased performance unless there’s a quilter’s Viagra that I don’t know about. So, why do I keep buying? Well, my investment in quilting is bigger than just my stash. Believe it or not, it’s about thoughtful spending.
Now, don’t start piecing me a halo yet, girls. I mean, I am a quiltshopaholic and I’ve never seen an objet d'quilting I didn’t like (although nine times out of 10, I’ll never refer to my new-found treasure again). And while that may seem irrelevant, these cold hard facts aren’t: Each year, more than one million small businesses start in North America, and 800,000 of them fail in the first five years.
Of course the quilting world isn’t that big, but so far we are lucky in our abundance. (But who hasn’t heard of a local shop or two closing within the last couple of years?) And the innovations and creativity in the quilty supply sector complement our own abilities to innovate and create, and help us to become the better human beings we are through our art. Take one half of that equation away, and it will definitely affect the other.
Unlike the screwy management of the Big Three car makers and the endless line of banking louses with their hands out, we’re not a bunch of whiners. You may not know it because of how fun it often feels in a quilt shop or at a quilt show or surfing online stores, but most retail quilt businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. The bottom line is if you’re not spending money in the quilt-related venues you have access to while they are open, it’s a very, very real possibility that they might not be there the next time you need them. Sure, your fabric and notions may be less expensive on eBay, but at what cost in the long run?
The same goes for magazines and book publishers. People may thriftily pass their QH issue around to five other friends, and quilters may brag about buying a quilting book for literally one cent (plus shipping) on Amazon.com, but today’s continual financial hits translate to fewer books and magazines being published tomorrow. What keeps magazines and book publishers going is sales, same as their LQS counterparts.
Now, turnips, don’t go into debt or break the bank or starve your kids. But do keep your mind and your wallet open. You can sit in front of the boob tube, trying to make sense of mega-spending stimulus plans that even the Obamanos may not understand, or do a little stimulatin’ of your own. Spend what quilty cash you may have in the shops, shows and online venues you love and want to see around for awhile. Continue the investment in your passion for quilting, maybe even just one-fat quarter or notion a week. YOU be the bailout, baby, and keep on doing what you love! mark my word 6 Quilter’s Home April/May 2009